14 March 2010

Cake, or death?!

We had a handball tournament over the weekend, in Taupo.  The usual timetable was adhered to - meet, games, debrief, shower, prizegiving at local pub.  It's a time-proven and-honoured traditional order of ceremony and not one we'll be messing with any time soon.  This tournament had a slight variation however - it was one of the guy's birthday!  Pat turned 22, so prizegiving was also birthday shindig, ensuring extra merriment abounded all 'round.  In keeping with the festive atmosphere I had promised to bring a cake, so the birthday lad had some candles to blow out, to commerate the occasion in front of the North Island handball fraternity.  I'm not a massive chocolate cake fan, in general, but this one is yum.  It's from a wonderful book of kiwi baking recipes called 'Ladies, A Plate'.  I think the reason this one resonates so well with me is that it smells good too, 'cause of the raspberry.  It's easy to make, and so worth it for birthdays and other special occasions.  Every one should have a cake for their birthday!! 

Nb: If you're not a fan of raspberry, try using peppermint essence, and replace rum with pepperminty schnapps or something. 

115g butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp rum (optional)
180 ml milk (or 225ml, if not using rum)
180g flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 heaped tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp golden syrup (optional, but makes a mightily moreish cake!!)

115g butter
180g icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp raspberry essence (or peppermint, if you prefer)
  1. Soften the butter and take the egg out of the fridge. Grease a 18 cm square tin with butter, and line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Using a cake mixer (I used a hand-held one and that worked fine), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in the egg.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.  Have all the dry ingredients ready together in a bowl.   
  4. Fold in dry ingredients in about three lots, alternating with the soda and milk. It will be quite a soft batter. Cook for about an hour (my oven's fan-forced and it only took 30 mins) - the cake will shrink slightly away from the sides of the tin and when you press the centre gently with your finger, it will spring back.
  5. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.  Ice when completely cooled. 
  6. For the icing, soften the butter, and cream it with the sifted icing sugar and cocoa, then add enough milk to make a soft, spreadable consistency. Add the raspberry essence.
  7. If the cake is quite deep, you can cut it in two (top layer/bottom layer) and spread jam between the layers.  Mine tend to be fairly shallow, so I just ice the top, then decorate as the mood or occasion dictate.  :) 
If you want to check out an hilarious piece of standup comedy, and the inspiration behind today's title, go to YouTube, Eddie Izzard

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